There was once a time when a skater looked West to see the motherland. Some made the long journey to the mecca that was Southern California, whilst the rest of us stayed at home and tried our hardest to imagine the long smooth cement sidewalks and sunny weather. Eventually, the idolized image of the motherland got distorted and gross with profit, competition and greed, so most of us were happy to stay at home and skate what we had.
It turned out we had more than we thought. Skaters started to look south. But, still the pilgrimage seemed far and some skaters were still left dreaming of a smoother ride… Nobody thought to look north, so the North came to us. Geir Allen Hove and Øyvind Aspen have captured the cream of the Scandinavian skate scene in their excellent opus, Neighbours – a tale of eight skaters (Love Enroth, Jani Laitiala, Kridstian Bomholt, Henning Braaten, Stefan Jacobsen, Mika Edin, Anders Jørgensen and Janne Saario) who made their skate dreams a reality.
That’s a rather poetic introduction for a DVD review, but Neighbours is poetic in its subtle mix of 16mm and digital images, spoken introductions for each rider and Mortagne-esque filming techniques. You can tell everyone worked hard on making this project a reality, be it through the filming/editing process or just having to skate some of the roughest spots known to mankind. The Scandinavian region that encompasses Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland is far from inviting like Barcelona or Lyon, but that doesn’t mean their isn’t a strong scene or sick spots. Thanks to this DVD, you realise skateboarding exists everywhere and Southern California is probably the last place you want to visit for a ride around.
I won’t run through each and every skater’s part chronologically, but I’ll pinpoint a few things that shone brighter than other for me. Firstly Love Enroth – this guy is so good it’s silly. Love definitely has the most inspired part of the group, and if I’m wrong, I think the choice of music is appropriate for someone who’s suffered a long stint of injury that has held him back from really killing it.
The next person worthy of a mention is Henning Braaten. Henning is pretty much an athlete (as his introduction explains) that reminds me of the friendly twin brother of Ivan Drago a.k.a. Dolph Lundren from Rocky IV. He’s all power and precision with a friendly smile and a mean pop.
Finally, this DVD introduces us (or at least me because I’d never heard of him before!) to Mika Edin an untapped fountain of youth, spirit and straight up skills on a skateboard. I can see Mika’s number being punched into a few Team manager’s speed dials, but hopefully he won’t pick up and keep his innocence in a game where the young are pawned off to the highest bidder.
So, sorry if I didn’t list a load of spoilers* with this review, but I think it’s worth you moving your arse and finding and buying Neighbours because it’s a top-quality window onto a scene many forget to notice. Things are moving up north and the locals are ready.
*Alright! Jani Laitaila whips out the sickest of switch 360 flips on a hot spot in Barca, and Janne Saario is the manual maestro as usual but his first trick will have the ledge technicians screaming. Nuff said.
Spending Time with Morgan
What I want / So you did it again / Drowning in those eyes
Veni Vidi Vicious
Hate to say I told you so
Palace of Pleasure
Betty Ford here we come / Golden Rule EP
Betty Ford here we come / One night at Graglandshaugen / Misikkpolitiets marsj / Klynk
To die alone
They’re building walls around us
From acid to zen and back again
Transcendental suicide / Sister surround
The soundtrack to our lives
Get out of Shape
Get out of shape Part 1 & 2
You may breathe
Let us meet the end / The six feet tall / Doubledip Atari
Crabsticks Volume 1
Track 3 & 4
Am I wry? No
Jim Stärk / No time wasted
Morning song / Sleepless